Saturday, December 31, 2016

December 31: Pope Saint Sylvester

Statue of Pope Saint Sylvester
at the Church of Saint Sylvester
Pisa, Italy


Born in Rome and ordained by Pope Saint Marcellinus, Sylvester became pope only two years after Christianity had become legal. One of the most important gatherings in Church history happened during his papacy: the Council of Nice in 325, where hundreds of priests, bishops and theologians met to talk about what God wanted to do with the Church.  But Pope Sylvester was too old to go. He sent two priests to represent him. When the Council ended. Pope Sylvester agreed with all their decisions, including the Nicene Creed


At every Sunday Mass, we stand together to pray the Nicene Creed. Read it together today. Do you know it by heart? If you memorize it, it’s easier to think through what the words mean as you say them at Mass. Work on memorizing the Creed today if you haven’t already. 

Pope Saint Sylvester, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Catholic Encyclopedia

Friday, December 30, 2016

December 30: Saint Anysia


Saint Anysia grew up wealthy, but she never wanted to live a rich life. She  dedicated herself to Jesus and her money to helping the poor. Everybody knew she did this because she was a Christian. One day, a soldier tried to drag Anysia into a pagan temple to make a sacrifice to his false gods. Anysia resisted, making him so angry, he drew his sword and killed her. 


We are so lucky we live in a time when we can act like Christians and help the poor without being afraid. Many of us help the poor before Christmas or even on Christmas day, but the poor need our help every day. To honor the memory of Saint Anysia, go through all your belongings and find good, useful things that don't work for you any more but could be used by somebody else. (No raggedy clothing or threadbare socks!) Maybe you got two of the same item for Christmas, so you can give away the spare. Take these items to a homeless shelter in your community to be given to somebody in need. 

Saint Anysia, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

December 29: Saint Aileran


Aileran was an Irish monk and a scholar. He liked to learn about Jesus and saints, and then write books about them. He wrote about all the great Irish saints who had lived before him, including Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid. The last thing Aileran ever wrote was about the genealogy of Christ that is found in the Gospel of Matthew. 


Today, read the first chapter of Matthew's Gospel. Matthew wrote this Gospel to prove to other Jews like Himself that Jesus is the Messiah. Why do you think it was important for Matthew to include Jesus' genealogy? That was one of the things that Saint Aileran found interesting.

Saint Aileran, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Online

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28: Saint Anthony the Hermit

St. Anthony the Hermit
by Baltasar de Echave


Saint Anthony became a monk when he was a young man. For a while, he lived in a community, but he had so many men who wanted to learn from him, he didn’t have the time to focus on Jesus that he really wanted. So he ran away to a more quiet location and lived as a hermit, all by himself. Saint Anthony grew so close to Jesus that he understood the Lord’s will very well, and God was able to work miracles through him. 


With Christmas, it is a very busy time of year! Some of us have so many gatherings with family and friends spread throughout the week, we can forget to make special time for Jesus. Saint Anthony never forgot this and neither should we. Today, set a timer for 15 minutes and spend that time totally alone with Jesus, talking to Him and listening to Him. What would happen in your life if you did that every day? 

Saint Anthony the Hermit, pray for us! 

More reading for parents:

Friday, September 9, 2016

September 9: St. Peter Claver

St. Peter Claver
Statue from St. Nicholas
Church in Strassburg


When Peter Claver was a young priest, his mentor, Saint Alphonsus Rodgriguez, inspired him to go to the America to preach the Gospel to “millions of perishing souls.” When Peter arrived in what we now call Columbia in the year 1610, he was horrified at the sight of the slave trade. He dedicated himself to serving the captives from Africa. He would meet the boats with medicine, water and food and hurry down to tend to the sick and dying. He taught the Africans about Jesus and administered Sacraments as they became Christians. He also traveled to the plantations where the slaves were forced to labor and begged their masters to treat them well.


Human trafficking is still a big problem in the world today, and just like Saint Peter Claver 400 years ago, there are priests and religious brothers and sisters, plus lay Catholics, who are working very hard to rescue the victims of modern-day slavery. Today, make a donation to Catholic Charities USA in honor of Saint Peter Claver, earmarked “for human trafficking victims.” You can mail your donation to Catholic Charities USA, P.O. Box 17066, Baltimore, MD, 21297-1066 or make a donation online

Saint Peter Claver, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

September 8: Birth of Mary

"The Nativity of the Virgin" by Jan Erasmus Quellinus


The Bible doesn't say anything about the birth of Our Lady, but tradition and a book called the Protoevangelium of James gives us one version of the story. Mary's parents, Anna and Joachim, were godly people who loved the Lord. They were never able to have a baby, but they prayed and prayed that God would give them a child. When they were quite old and everybody else would have given up any hope, they received a message from the Lord that they would have a child who would be part of God's plan of salvation for the world. Saint Augustine (whom we learned about a couple weeks ago) called Mary, "the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley."  


Today, plant some Lily of the Valley bulbs in your yard. These are also called "Our Lady's Tears." Next spring, around Easter time, the bulbs will bloom and become another reminder of what Our Lady did for all of us by agreeing to be the mother of Christ. (And you can make a birthday cake for Mary, too, if you like!) 

Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our deaths!

More reading for parents: 

American Catholic

Women for Faith and Family

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September 7: Saint Cloud

St. Cloud statue from
a hospital in St. Cloud, MN


Clodoald, or Cloud, was in line to become King of France, but he had a mean uncle who was killing everybody who stood in his way. Cloud’s two older brothers were killed, but he got away. He wasn’t interested in becoming king anyway. He wanted to be a priest, and he worked hard at teaching people to love Jesus and to live lives of purity and devotion.


Did you know you can turn a bar of Ivory soap into a cloud? Follow these instructions, and then take your Saint Cloud’s Day Clouds into the bath. (You can cut one bar into thirds or fourths to make an individual cloud for each child.) As you make the outside of your body pure, think about making the inside of your heart pure, too. 

Saint Cloud, pray for us!

More reading for parents: 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September 6: Saint Eleutherius the Abbot

Saint Eleutherius the Abbot (Image from SQPN)


Saint Eleutherius was a simple man of great faith who was the head of a monastery. He helped a child who was possessed by the devil. But then Eleutherius became full of pride and said that the child would be safe in the monastery school because of all the good men who lived there. The devil attacked the child again, and Eleutherius realized his mistake. He fasted and prayed with all the other monks until the child was free again. After that, when Eleutherius prayed for a miracle, it usually happened. 


When God answers our prayers for a miracle – like He did for Saint Eleutherius – it’s a sweet experience! Here’s a pretend “miracle” with a sweet ending to help you remember to strive to say and pray for the right things. “Miracle” Peach Cobbler is not really a miracle because it’s kitchen chemistry that makes the crust appear, but it’s a fun way to remember the miracles that Saint Eleutherius prayed for.

Saint Eleutherius the Abbot, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5: Saint Teresa of Calcutta

1988 photo by Evert Odekerken


Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, she joined the Sisters of Loreta to become a missionary. She served in Calcutta, India and became Mother Teresa after making her final profession of vows. When she was 36, she received a message from Jesus to “Come be My light,” and His desire to save souls became her focus for the rest of her life. She started a new religious community called the Missionaries of Charity to serve the poorest of the poor. In time, she became famous, winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Only after she died did the world find out that she felt rejected by God after starting her noble work. The fact that she continued to serve despite this doubt shows her great faith and commitment to Jesus. She was canonized by Pope Francis yesterday!


Today, color a picture of Saint Teresa to hang in your room, remind yourself that even if you doubt God's love for you, He is there, loving you and helping you love others. Here’s a simple coloring page and one that is more complex for older children.

Blessed Mother Teresa, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Vatican biography (includes link to Blessed John Paul II's homily on the occasion of her beatification)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July 27: St. Pantaleon


St. Pantaleon was a famous Christian doctor, but because he was surrounded by people who did not believe in Jesus, he eventually gave up his faith. A holy priest talked to him, and Pantaleon returned to the Church. Unfortunately, that meant he was arrested and sentenced to die if he would not renounce Jesus. Pantaleon refused to make the same mistake twice and proclaimed Jesus. Soldiers tried to burn him with torches, but a holy vision appeared, healing Pantaleon and putting out the flames. Next, the soldiers tried to throw him into a tub of boiling lead, but the fire under the pot went out and the lead immediately became cold and solid. Pantaleon was then tied to a huge stone and thrown into the sea, but the stone floated. The soliders then imprisoned Pantaleon with wild animals that were supposed to tear him limb from limb, but the animals acted just like gentle pets. Then he was tied to a large wheel to be beaten, but the ropes snapped and the wheel shattered. Finally, one of the soldiers was told to cut off his head, but the sword bent. All the soldiers became Christians, too!


It’s hard to imagine having as much faith as Saint Pantaleon did when he was being persecuted. Today, the kind of persecution we face as Christians is a lot less scary. We might get made fun of or insulted, but we probably won’t be tied to a big rock and thrown into the sea. Still, it can be hard to stand up for Jesus when people are being mean to us. Pray that God will give you and your whole family the strength to withstand persecution.

St. Pantaleon, pray for us!

More reading for parents: 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 26: Saint Joachim and Saint Anne

Saints Anne and Joachim
with the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Josef Anton Mahlknecht (1859)


Traditionally, Jesus’ grandparents – the parents of Mary – are called Joachim and Anne. One legend says that Joachim and Anne were childless for many years before Mary was born. They dedicated Mary to God and raised her to love and serve the Lord. We know this because when the angel appeared to Mary to tell her that she had been chosen to become the mother of Christ, Mary was ready and willing to do anything God asked of her.


Grandparents are really important in families. Usually, they’re the ones who taught your parents how to be parents, just like Joachim and Anne taught Mary how to be a good, godly mother for Jesus. Today, tell Joachim and Anne “Thank you,” for teaching Mary to be faithful to God, and then write notes to your own grandparents, thanking them for what they have done for you and your parents. (If your grandparents have died, you can still thank them, just by talking to them.

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, pray for us!

More reading for parents:
Saint Joachim at Catholic Encyclopedia
Saint Anne at Catholic Encyclopedia 

Monday, July 25, 2016

July 25: Saint James the Greater

St. James the Greater
by El Greco (ca 1600)


James and his brother John were fisherman before Jesus walked into their lives. Not only would James become one of the twelve Apostles, he was one of Jesus’ closest friends, along with his brother and Simon Peter. Usually, James is called “James the Greater” because there was another apostle named James who was younger. But Jesus gave James and John the nickname, “Sons of Thunder.” James saw Jesus transfigured in glory, witnessed miracles and was called to stand by Jesus during His agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane the knight before He died. After Jesus returned to heaven, James helped the Church grow until he was murdered for being a Christian. 


What kind of men would get the nickname “Sons of Thunder”? Loud or quiet? Today, you can make a thunder tube. (Instructions adapted from Rachel Bales’ blog

Empty potato chip can, packing tube or oatmeal container, etc.
Metal coil (about 18” long )
Glue gun
Decorative paper to cover the cylinder (or plain paper, stickers, crayons, etc.)


1. An adult should use the awl (or scissors) to poke a small hole in the bottom of your can/tube/container.

2. Work a little of your metal coil into the hole. An adult can secure the coil into place using the glue gun. Let cool.

3. Cut the decorative paper to size and secure to the container with tape.

4. To make thunder, hold the canister with the spring hanging down and wiggle it gently. 
Saint James the Greater, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 24: Saint Christina


Saint Christina’s father was rich and powerful, but he didn’t believe in Jesus. He had some golden idols that he worshiped instead. When Christina became a Christian, she learned that idols were bad, so she broke them into pieces and gave the gold to the poor. Her father was really angry with her. He had her beaten with metal rods and thrown in a dungeon until she gave up her faith. Christina wouldn’t do it. Her father and the governor who took over after him tried to kill Christina through fire, drowning, poisonous snakes and more, but God kept protecting her. Finally, she was killed with arrows.


Here’s a tasty treat to celebrate Saint Christina’s faith.

Saint Christina’s Arrows*

Pretzel rods
Chocolate chips
Vegetable oil

Step 1
1. With a serrated knife, saw the ends of the rectangular cookies diagonally, so that you have parallelograms that will serve as the fletching (feathers) on the arrows. 

Step 2
2. Divide the wafer in half by slicing through the filling so you have two identical, thin pieces. (Younger kids can do this with a butter knife.) 

Step 3
3. Melt the chocolate chips with one teaspoon of vegetable oil. Stir until smooth. Coat one (or more) pretzel per person in chocolate – set on waxed paper to dry. (If it's hot in your kitchen, you may want to put them in the fridge or freezer to speed this step up.  WOH Moms or Moms of Many tip: Buy pretzels already dipped to skip this step. Or try tube-shaped cookies like these (if you don't mind the extra sugar). Move on to step 4 before you start another pretzel!

Step 4
4. While the chocolate is still wet, press the edge of one of the wafer cookies pieces on each side so that they stick out. If you took the Step 3 shortcut, melt a few kisses or chocolate chips and dip one edge of the wafer cookies into that to "glue" them onto the pretzel or tube cookie. 

Step 5
5. Unwrap one Hershey kiss per pretzel. When all the pretzels are done and dry, reheat the melted chocolate chips (if necessary), and dip the uncoated end of the pretzel into the chocolate to coat. Press a kiss onto the end to serve as the arrowhead.

Return to the waxed paper and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

*We developed this recipe because our youngest daughter is named Christine. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

July 23: St. Bridget of Sweden


When Saint Bridget, or Birgitta as she was called, was very young, she had a very clear vision of Jesus that she remembered all her life. She got married and had eight children. After her husband died, she understood that God was calling her to organize a new religious order for women. Bridget started to do what God asked her to do, but then she felt that she was called to Rome where she saw visions regarding the Church. She died as an old woman who never saw any of her work for Christ finished, but full of faith in Him. This is why she is called the Patroness of Failures. However, she did write 15 wonderful prayers, which many people still pray today.


Today, write your own prayer to God. Remember to start with a sentence telling Him how much you love Him. Then, state a request. Finish by thanking Him and saying, “Amen.”

Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us!

More reading for parents: 

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22: St. Mary Magdalene


Before she met Jesus, Mary Magdalene did not follow God. But even though she was a terrible sinner, Jesus loved her and healed her. Mary went to a dinner Jesus was invited to, washed His feet, and dried them with her hair. Then she anointed His feet with perfume. Jesus told Mary that her faith had saved her. Mary became of Jesus’ most humble and faithful followers. She stood by Him when He was Crucified, with His mother. And she was one of the first to see Jesus after He rose from the dead.


Mary Magdalene’s story is one of the most beautiful stories of Jesus’ mercy in the Bible. Choose a one of these pictures to color and hang it in your room as a reminder that Jesus loves us no matter what sins we commit.

Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 21: St. Lawrence of Brindisi


Born in Brindisi, a town in the Naples region of Italy, Saint Lawrence  became a Capuchin brother when he was only 16 years old. He loved to study and learned theology, philosophy and several languages. After he was ordained a priest, he accomplished many great things. At one point, the whole country of Hungary was being threatened by invaders, and Saint Lawrence helped round up an army to defend the nation. He also wrote many books explaining the Bible. After he was canonized and named a Doctor of the church, he was also named the patron of his home town, Brindisi


Tonight in honor of Saint Lawrence, prepare a pasta supper that is commonly served in Brindisi. It’s easy!


Spaghetti a la Brindisi, courtesy of Catholic Culture

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20: Saint Wilgefortis


Saint Wilgefortis (sometimes called Saint Liberata or Saint Kummernis or Saint Uncumber) was one of nine daughters born to the King of Portugal. He wanted Wilgefortis to marry the King of Sicily, but she had promised God she would never marry and that she would live only for Jesus. She prayed for help to get out of the marriage, and as the legend goes, she miraculously grew a beard and a mustache. The King of Sicily didn’t want to marry her any more. Her father was so angry, he had her crucified. 


Imagine how silly Saint Wilgefortis must have looked with a beard and a mustache. It was an unexpected way for God to answer her prayers, wasn’t it? So, today’s activity is a little unexpected, too. Make mustaches out of cardstock and attack them to lollipop sticks and/or drinking straws following these instructions:

Mustache on a stick at PBS.  (Use black card stock or construction paper if you like, and lollipop sticks, which are easier to glue because they are made out of paper. 

Saint Wilgefortis, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 19: Saint Arsenius the Great


Saint Arsenius started out with a privileged life. His dad was in the Roman Senate, and Arsenius worked as a tutor for the children of the emperor. He also inherited a lot of money from a relative, so he had everything he could want. But one day, he prayed, “O God, teach me how to be saved,” and the Lord’s voice came to him, quoting Matthew 16:26: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Asresenius left everything behind and went to live with the desert monks in Egypt. He found peace in living a quiet, humble life with Christ.


Read Mt 16:21-27 in a children’s bible and talk about it. Why do you think Peter said what he did when he found out that Jesus must be killed? Do you think Jesus understood why Peter was upset? Do you think Jesus answered Peter in an angry way or with love and understanding? Jesus is asking us to be willing to give up anything to follow Him? Do you think that would be easy to do or hard to do? Pray that God will make your heart willing to give up whatever He needs you to give up.

Saint Arsenius the Great, pray for us!

More reading for parents:

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18: Saint Frederick


Saint Frederick was a priest who taught new Christians about the faith. When he became a bishop some years later, he had a pretty frustrating job, because a lot of people were mixed up about what it meant to live as Christians. Saint Frederick would try to explain the way they were supposed to go with gentleness and love, but some of the people didn’t want to give up their sinful ways, and they hated him.


Saint Frederick never gave up on trying to help people go in the right direction. Today, make a traffic light out of an egg carton to help you remember how to live the way Jesus wants us to live.


1 egg carton (makes enough for four children)
Either red, yellow or green kid-friendly tempera paint and paint brushes OR red, yellow and green construction paper and school glue
Black marker or crayon
Hole punch


1. A parent needs to cut the bottom off an egg carton, cut it in half lengthwise and then crosswise so each child has a section of three cups in a line. Turn your section of egg carton bottom side up so that the cups become the “light bulbs”.

2. If you are using paint, paint the bottom of the cups red, yellow and green to be the lights and set aside to dry. If you are using construction paper, cut 2” circles and proceed to step 3 before gluing them onto the egg carton.

3. Use the black marker to write “STOP” on the red bulb and “Don’t sin” in smaller letters under that. Write “SLOW” on the yellow bulb and “down and pray” underneath. Write “GO” on the green bulb and “do what God wants” underneath.” If you are using construction paper, you can glue the circles onto the egg carton now.

4. Punch a hole about 1/2” from the edge of the egg carton, centered over the top the red bulb. Thread a string through the stoplight to hang it in your room. (When you hang it, the red should be on top and the green should be on the bottom). 

Saint Frederick, pray for us!

More reading for parents: